Writers Across the Curriculum: A Speaker Series

The Writing Center at Michigan State University is proud to present this year’s virtual speaker series, titled “Writers In the Disciplines.” Bringing together conversations about Tier II writing and writers, writing across the curriculum (WAC) and writing in the disciplines (WID) work, this series will address both pragmatic and human responses to these two questions: What does it mean to be a writer in the academy? And what support do teachers (or tutors) of writing need to empower their students? At the core of writing pedagogy is the practice of centering the writer – the centering of process over simplified product. This series seeks to think through and critically analyze how WAC/WID programming can better engage and support writers themselves – not just their writing – through considering intersections of identities ranging from personal to professional.

This series will feature WAC/WID scholars, colleagues who lead WAC/WID initiatives at our fellow Big 10 Institutions, and researchers who study the relationship between writing and anti-ableism, anti-racism, and anti-colonialism. By thinking both broadly – in terms of globalism, multilingualism, and intersectionality – and specifically – in terms of programming, structure, resources, and support – we hope to foster a robust conversation about the ways in which personhood deeply affects both writers and their writing. As people across the world grapple with their experience of the pandemic, their hopes for their future, and the ways they contextualize or describe their experience of their “places” – whether academic, internal, or literal – we see powerful connections between identity and story. We bring our whole selves to our work, and we bring our whole selves to the page. This series explores those connections as they play out in classrooms and in writers themselves.

Register for Dr. Poe’s talk

A woman in a sweater with medium length hair smiling in front of a book case

Dr. Joanna Wolfe

Learning to Write in STEM Disciplines”

October 20th, 1:00 p.m. via Zoom

This talk will begin by overviewing the landscape of academic writing, presenting major genres and conventions used across the university.  We will then engage in interactive exercises to understand the conventions that govern research writing in STEM disciplines.  The talk will end by sharing strategies for succinctly teaching STEM students to apply these conventions to their own academic and research writing.

Watch a recording of Dr. Wolfe’s talk

Speaker Bio

Joanna Wolfe is Teaching Professor of English, Faculty Consultant for Mechanical Engineering, and former Director of the Global Communication Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on writing and communication in STEM and on equity and communication in engineering teams. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and has received awards from the American Association of Engineering Educators, the IEEE Professional Communication Society, and the National Council for Teachers of English. Her work on engineering communication and equity has appeared in Technical Communication Quarterly, Journal of Engineering Education, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Written Communication, and Sex Roles.  She is author of the textbook Team Writing: A Guide to Working in Groups and is currently working on a series of genre-based technical communication textbooks for Bedford/St. Martins tentatively titled Modular Technical and Professional Communication.   


A white-presenting woman with short dark hair smiling in front of a bookcase

Dr. Mya Poe

“The Changing Landscape of Scientific Communication Today”

November 17th, 1:00 p.m. via Zoom

While scientific communication practices regularly change due to advances in technology, advances in research findings, and funding pressures, the last several years have witnessed a number of exciting, critical changes in scientific publishing practices. In this presentation, we will talk about some of those changes, including “pandemic publishing,” the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the questioning of monolingual English standards in scientific publishing. Such changes raise important questions for how we teach scientific communication—for example, how we teach students about peer review, how we name populations in scientific research, and how we teach scientific editing.

Register for Dr. Poe’s talk

Speaker Bio

Mya Poe is Associate Professor of English at Northeastern University. For more than 20 years, she has been an advocate for justice-oriented writing assessment practices. Through her research on disparate impact in placement testing to recent work on justice-oriented, antiracist validity in large-scale testing, Mya has sought collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships. For Mya, collaboration should not merely an important disciplinary practice but also a culturally-relevant practice for meaning-making.

Her research on scientific communication has also been deeply collaborative, especially in her research on student writing development in the sciences. Her recent work in scientific communication looks at publishing ethics and explores the potential of a decolonial option in the teaching of scientific communication.

Her co-authored and co-edited books include Learning to Communicate in Science and Engineering (CCCC 2012 Advancement of Knowledge Award), Race and Writing Assessment (CCCC 2014 Outstanding Book of the Year), Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity, and Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education. Her scholarship has appeared in journals such as College Composition and Communication, Educational Assessment, and Assessing Writing. She has also guest-edited special issues of Research in the Teaching of English and College English dedicated to issues of social justice, diversity, and writing assessment. She is series co-editor of the Oxford Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines and the incoming co-editor of Written Communication.

Her research has received funding from the Northeastern College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College Composition and Communication, MIT School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Her teaching and service have been recognized with the Northeastern University Teaching Excellence Award, the Northeastern College of Social Sciences and Humanities Outstanding Teaching Award, and the MIT Infinite Mile Award for Continued Outstanding Service and Innovative Teaching.